This whole trip I struggled with what is old and what is new and where do we go from here. It was interesting to see the deep roots that were planted by master artists, but the variation were no less interesting. In the end, I gathered strength from all those who have gone before us, knowing that an individual can still make a difference. The key lies in telling the truth as it applies to your unique self.
Many of the exhibitions I saw were very in-depth looks at specific parts of an artist output. I prefer these shows to the big blockbuster retrospectives. I was able to gain more insight by concentrating more narrowly. The curators really shine with this type of display. You almost feel like it is a doctorate thesis presented with real examples. Learning about some of Degas techniques, or how the objects in Matisse's home worked their way into his pictures and seeing the relationship between Dali and Duchamp was all new to me. It was very life confirming to me to know that I was not tired of life and learning.
Calder on Paper
Calder was not just a master of the mobile and jewelry which we saw several years ago in San Diego. These works on paper show the strength of his 2-d vision.
Massive ornate tapestries by Jose Faught used any material or concept that caught his eye.
|Thomas Mailaender showed photos of photos negatives developed on skin using the sun or maybe a tanning bed? Brave people to volunteer to be sunburned for art.|
|Philip Colbert - a riotous playful space altering collection|
Oh Mylun Lee had a two room exhibition and they were stunningly pretty, but I am not sure what else they were. She used old techniques and new materials for all this visual stimulations. Then the third room was a total environment of a city landscape with floating, twirling flowers and butterflies projected all around and over you. Disney would be proud.
|I chose to show you a couple of turned out feet that he did so well. You can actually feel the tension in the leg.|
|This delightful show explained how Degas would fix different layers so he could build up illusions. Then he might take the very nature of the chalk, thin it down with turps and change it to add highlights and dark lines.|
Why the name PRE-Raphaelites and what does this have to do with Van Eyck? These nineteenth century artists rebelled against the work of Raphael and wanted to go back to the influence of the 1400's Netherlander artist Van Eyck. Van Eyck's very famous picture below is full of symbolism and sharply rendered figures and a MIRROR. The mirror could either reflect people in the scene that were other wise unseen or it could be used to make a commentary about life and society.
Many of the works in the show depicted scenes from Tennyson's Lady of Shalott. She was cursed to look into a mirror and record in tapestry what she saw. But a glimpse of Lancelot was too tempting for her and she looked to see him in person. The curse was broken, but the lady died.
|William Morris Iseult mourning Tristram's exile from the court of King Mark. 'DOLOURS' (grief) written down the side of her mirror.|
|William Holman Hunt: The mirror reflects the open window and a destination of hope for this women who see the errors of her ways.|
|John William Waterhouse's Lady of Shalott|
I was challenged by Michelle Kurtis Cole to chose seven black and white images that had no people in them and needed no explanation. The National Gallery has a show opening in November called Monochrome so their gift shop was set up with a number of black and white displays. Here is a selection of some of the photos I took.
I was rather hoping that I had saved the best for last. But when I got to the Royal Academy to see the Jasper Johns show, I realized that they were also showing Matisse in his studio and Dali/Duchamp. Darwin and I both went to all three and had to pay a total of about $130 in entrance fees. It appears that going to see exhibitions in London is now as expensive as going to theater. Many permanent collections are free, but to see special shows there are very special prices! We were both delighted to walk away feeling we had got our money's worth. This was party due to the break we took with a delightful lunch at Langan's Brasserie (an old haunt of David Hockney's). The spinach and anchovies souffle was just as I remembered it and the bill was even more than the price of the shows!
|The flag paintings seems a little sad now out of context of the time they were created but I found number painting below were just as potent. Maybe because the USA is a bit sad now and numbers from computers still rule our lives|
|One of my favorites was this simple cast and painted toast sculpture.|
Matisse in the Studio
It was so much fun to see the photographs and then see the actual objects on display from Matisse's studio and home and then see the works of art created with these objects in them. . Matisse has long been a favorite of mine as I am obsesses with pattern and fill up most of my own works with details. Maybe in my next life I will come back a minimallist!
|Dali painted his father|
|Duchamp paints his father|
|Dali, ever the inventor of technique, manipulating vision as Duchamp manipulated words.|
|Duchamp as Rrose Salevy|
|The gift store at the Royal Academy was filled with lobster ornaments in homage to the famous lobster telephone by Dali.|
|Scott Benefield showed these cylinders displayed together taking them out of the vase category and into the art realm.|
|Sophie Thomas and Luis Thompson made an environmental statement with these glass versions of twisted plastic bottles with ocean debuis captured inside.|
|Harry Morgan put polished concrete on the top of carved strands of glass below which created something a bit gravity defying.|
|Bruce Marks's simple shapes were such an elegant grouping of birds. The interior lined with red glass made the negative space positive.|
|Clear plexiglass figures were defined by boxes of cosmetics.|
|A fluffy angora sweater with a chiffon skirt and clear booties. Who would ever think to make this combo?|
|These patent leather boots were hand painted with traditional narrow boat or canal art which is British folk art. The little dots are raised silver studs.|